This past week I have done a little soul searching. I took some time off to think and do a little analyzing of my business and my personal life. This is something I wanted to do at the first of the year but ended up getting busy and it was like a snowball effect and things became overwhelming. I finally said enough is enough and I scheduled myself two weeks off. I spent the first week trying to get caught up on editing and the second I planned a getaway with my hubby. This is where the soul searching and analyzing came in. I had, what my husband likes to call, an epiphany!
It hit me - “Photography is my passion, but my family is my life!”
For those of you who don't know much about me I am not just a photographer...I am also a stay-at-home mother of a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old. In my opinion being a mother to small children and a wife is a busy and tough job all in itself (I admire all of those women who choose to give up a career for themselves and stay home to raise their kids – it's a hard job and a very honorable one. It's sad that most people don't give it much value anymore). Anyways lately I found myself thinking I can't wait until my kids are older so it will be easier to get work done and then I can take on more sessions. I also started looking forward to my kids' bedtime because that meant I could get some real editing done. I know I should be given the worst mother of the year award. Here I am so very LUCKY to have two great kids, I am so blessed and I wasn't even realizing it. I swore when I became a mother that I would NEVER let my kids grow up in front of the TV but there I found myself turning on the TV just so I could dive into editing a session or answer e-mails. Instead of being an interactive mommy like I used to be I found that the TV was becoming my babysitter. Talk about being a horrible mommy I was also becoming a horrible wife.
My husband is a very hard worker, many times he works long hours and gets home late. I think he deserves to come home to a good home-cooked meal and a clean house. I will be the first to admit and say I AM A HORRIBLE housekeeper! It has gotten worse the past few months because I have been so busy with editing and doing sessions. I don't think I have eaten so much take-out in my life, I hate it! OK I can't lie it's so much easier to just have someone else do the cooking BUT I don't want my family to live on takeout food, so unhealthy, my family deserves better.
I just feel that lately I have been putting what is really important to me on the back burner. It hasn't been fair to those who mean the most to me. First and foremost I am a mommy and I need to remember that. My kids are my life and they deserve the very best (which sadly I have not been giving lately). The past 2 weeks I have spent more time reading to them, playing with them, and just soaking up their cuteness then I have in the past 8 months (I know sad, huh). I had been spending so much time wishing that they would grown up that I hadn't taken the time to realize the wonderful stages they are in. My 4-year-old is a total blast to play with, he has a fun imagination. Last week I took a day off of editing and I refused to get on the computer or turn on the TV. I had so much fun playing with my kids it made me realize that I am missing out on so much. We spent half of the morning hunting for ghosts – SO CUTE, I hadn't laughed or smiled that much in a very long time. I hate to brag but I've got two adorable kiddos! I HATE that I have become that mom who says things like, “Not now I am busy” in constant conversation with my kids. I even got to the point where I would just say, “Leave me alone.”
I couldn't help but wonder why did I even become a mother if I wasn't going to try to be the best mom I could be? My mom was a stay-at-home mom and I LOVE her for making that choic. I know she sacrificed a lot to stay at home and I will always be grateful for that. She gave up having a career to be a mom and I think that is so selfless and honorable. I always wanted to be there for my kids. I just never knew I would end up having a passion (career) I LOVED and ENJOY.
I started placing so much of my identity on being a photographer. I thought it was so important to put all of my energy and time into my photography. I started thinking it was who I was. WOW was I crazy? Instead of being a full-time mom and part-time photographer I was becoming a full-time photographer and a crappy part-time mom. I never wanted that. Don't get me wrong I have the greatest job in the world but being there for my kids and not missing those cute little moments is why I swore I would never open a studio or put my kids in daycare (nothing wrong with daycare I know some people don't have a choice but I do and I don't want someone else watching my kids grow up when I have the opportunity to be there).
So I decided I needed to make a decision. Pursue my career and put my kiddos in daycare or cutback and be a better mother. I honestly thought about putting my kids in daycare and pursuing my dream of having an actual studio and growing my business (even had some amazing opportunities for a commercial building space) BUT after spending time with family and looking at the bigger picture I have decided that I want to choose to be a mother first, my kids are only little once. Heck before I know it my kids won't want anything to do with me, lol. I figured I have been blessed with two miracles and they are what is truly important to me. At this point in time I know what matters is that I be here for them and I be the loving mother I always wanted to be. My time will come when I can spend more time on my career. But right now I will enjoy teaching my kids silly songs, reading them books, and embracing motherhood.
NO this is not a way of saying that I am quitting photography all together, I could NEVER fully quit. This is a way of putting things in perspective and giving a heads up to my AMAZING clients.
I can't complain about how busy I have been because I am so very grateful for the wonderful clients I have, many have become great friends. I enjoy working and capturing sweet memories for them. They are amazing and so faithful. I am honored to have become their family photographer. Because of this I have also decided I need to start showing a little appreciate to those returning clients (heads up for that). I LOVE watching their kiddos grow up and develop their little personalities. I enjoy what I do. I just realize that I need to find a happy medium.
So there you have it after having an epiphany I have decided on going back to being a full-time mommy and a part-time photographer. I think it sounds like a happy medium – I still get to have my creative outlet and photograph cute kiddos while I get to be an active mommy to my cute kiddos!
Ok, what does all of this mean?
Well first off instead of booking 3-5 sessions a week I will only be booking 1-3 sessions a week. I don't know yet if I am going to be doing designated office/editing days and photograph days or if I will only work on certain days but I do know I will be making some changes. So far this year I have been booking up a month in advance...so just to give some warning I might be booking up sooner since I will be booking fewer sessions each week (I honestly don't know). I just need to get organized and stick to a plan! Maybe if I ever get my life organized and figured out I might take on more sessions then I am planning...or I might try to have another baby, lol. Who knows what will come of this change.
I hope I have support in this decision. Believe me I have STRESSED over this for a while now and I finally feel at peace with my choice. I still want to continue my passion for photography I just don't want my family to suffer because of it. Something I was raised with is that, “Family comes first”. I want to make sure my family feels that they are first because they are my life.
As I said before, “Photography is my passion, but my family is my life.”
Thank you for understanding. And if you are interested in having me capture your child or family portraits PLEASE contact me a month in advance. E-mail is the best way to contact me (since I do have two little ones at home with me it's hard to have a phone conversation without having a crying or screaming kid interrupt me). My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org Once I book up the allotted amount of sessions I will have to tell people no. I appreciate everyone respecting my family time.
Sincerely - Misty
This is my handsome 4-year-old...wouldn't you want to spend more time with him?!?!?
I love my little kiddos and I am blessed that they still call me mommy, even though I haven't deserved it lately!